By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw Hits
Becky Lynch vs. Asuka for a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship: The timing seemed off prior to the early commercial break, but they settled in nicely for the remainder of the match. It was less than ideal to have this match take place without being able to hype it sufficiently. Obviously, the situation with Sasha Banks and Naomi forced the company’s hand. With no issues between Bianca Belair and Asuka at the moment, I wonder if Lynch will be added to the Raw Women’s Championship match at Hell in a Cell. Either way, I’m tired of Asuka’s over the top promos and I’d really like to see the character get a fresh coat of paint.
Bobby Lashley vs. Omos in a steel cage match: This is exactly what I expected in terms of the company going with a finish that made it seems like a standard cage couldn’t hold these two. I suspect this sets up another HIAC match, but they may have a different approach in mind. While Omos is still very limited, it is encouraging that he has had back to back passable outings with Lashley. For that matter, it’s also a big feather in Lashley’s cap.
Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins: A solid segment to set up their Hell in a Cell match. This was probably the least memorable segment they have had thus far, but not every segment is going to be a home run. As much as I like the strategy of using a countdown clock for a segment in the typically lowest rated third hour, I’m not sold on the idea of making this exclusive to Cody segment. It could actually backfire if fans start to feel like his getting special treatment or being pushed too aggressively.
Riddle vs. Jimmy Uso: A Hit for one of the better matches of the night. Even so, it felt like they would have been better off not having a match involving RK-Bro or The Usos before Friday’s unification match.
AJ Styles and Finn Balor vs. “Los Lotharios” Angel and Humberto: A well worked tag match with an outcome that was never in doubt. It really is a shame that Los Lotharios haven’t been booked in a way that would make them feel like a threat to win. Unfortunately, it didn’t even feel meaningful that Styles and Balor teamed up to beat a regular tag team.
Veer Mahaan vs. Mustafa Ali with The Miz as special referee: WWE pulled back on referencing Ali previously requesting his release from the company. The simple story of the heels stacking the deck against Ali had to be easier for casual viewers to follow than the previous approach. The Mysterios saving Ali from a three-on-one attack from Mahaan, Miz, and Theory seemingly sets up a six-man tag match.
Alexa Bliss vs. Sonya Deville: I enjoyed the easy to follow logic that Deville deserved a rematch because she was booked in an impromptu match last week against Bliss, who made an unadvertised return. They followed that up by logically giving Deville more offense in this match before Bliss went over in the end. I’m mildly curious to see where they go with Deville slapping the referee after the match now that she’s no longer an untouchable authority figure.
WWE Raw Misses
Ezekiel vs. Chad Gable: Kevin Owens on commentary was a big Hit. But the live crowd’s lack of enthusiasm during the match was telling. The Ezekiel gag is fine if it’s just a short-term story, but that hasn’t really been WWE’s style over the years. I have a bad feeling that this character is going to overstay its welcome and continue to repeat the same joke every week.
Lacey Evans: Can anyone explain why they aired five weeks of her video packages on Smackdown only to then assign her to the Raw brand? If Evans really is going to be a heel, then I question the idea of having her share her sympathetic life story. Perhaps it will make more sense once the direction of her character takes shape, but it seems like something they may eventually wish they had back if they ever want to turn her babyface.